This week Instagram passed Twitter for total number of active users, registering 300 million to Twitter’s 284 million.
As I wrote in my post, it’s a big deal inasmuch as the active user number is easily the most reported metric for all social platforms. Lots of people seem to really care about it. But here’s one person who doesn’t: Twitter co-founder Evan Williams.
In an interview with Fortune, Williams downplays the value of a monthly active user, even going so far to question what it actually is. He also doesn’t mince his words about how little he cares about Instagram’s news.
Here’s his statement in full.
“It’s a question of breadth versus depth. Why is users the only thing we talk about? The crazy thing: Facebook has done an amazing job of establishing that as the metric for Wall Street. No one ever talks about, ‘What is a [monthly active user]?’ I believe it’s the case that if you use Facebook Connect—if you use an app that you logged into with Facebook Connect—you’re considered a Facebook user whether or not you ever launched the Facebook app or went to Facebook.com. So what does that mean? It’s become so abstract to be meaningless. Something you did caused some data in their servers to be recorded for the month. So I think we’re on the wrong path.
If you think about the impact Twitter has on the world versus Instagram, it’s pretty significant. It’s at least apples to oranges. Twitter is what we wanted it to be. It’s this realtime information network where everything in the world that happens on Twitter—important stuff breaks on Twitter and world leaders have conversations on Twitter. If that’s happening, I frankly don’t give a shit if Instagram has more people looking at pretty pictures.”
Zing. Film at eleven.